Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Don't cook tonight - feat on the leftovers

Today is St. Stephen's Day.

The citizens of the British Commonwealth denote the day by putting on trunks and gloves to beat each other bloody silly.

Another reason to appreciate the American Revolution - a peaceful December 26th.

If you are starting your Christmas shopping for 2018, you're either way ahead of the curve or cheap.

Tonight's the first night of Kwanzaa.

Kwanzaa means "first fruit" in Swahili.

If you're keeping score, you currently have two turtledoves and a pair of partridges in their respective pear trees (four gifts - remember we're counting the partridge and a pear tree as a unit.)

Begin taking extra copies of free daily newspapers - you'll need it in a major way. (I keep forgetting to mention what each gift symbolizes - The two turtle doves represent the Old and New Testaments.)

December 26, 1951 -
The film that introduced Akira Kurosawa to world audiences, Rashomon, starring Toshiro Mifune and Machiko Kyo, premiered in the US on this date.

In the downpour scenes showing the Rashomon Gate, Akira Kurosawa found that the rain in the background simply wouldn't show up against the light gray backdrop. To solve this problem, the crew ended up tinting the rain by pouring black ink into the tank of the rain machine. The ink is clearly visible on the Woodcutter's face just before the rain stops.

December 26, 1957 -
The Ingmar Bergman classic Wild Strawberries, starring Victor Sjostrom, opened in Sweden on this date.

Ingmar Bergman wrote the movie with Victor Sjöström in mind. He and the production company agreed that there would be no movie without Sjöström. Bergman didn't dare to call his idol Sjöström himself about the movie though, so the head of Swedish movie industry made the call.

December 26, 1967 -
years ago today, The Beatles gave their fans a Christmas present - Magical Mystery Tour was shown on the BBC on this date.

(I can't seem to embed a version of the show but check out the link above)

One artist who was cast in this film but didn't appear was Jimi Hendrix. Paul McCartney wanted him in the film, but Hendrix was already committed to play at the Monterey Pop Festival, his breakthrough performance. Ironically, McCartney was the person who suggested that Hendrix should get invited to play the festival.

December 26, 1973 -
Here was a great way to celebrate the holidays; The Exorcist, premiered in the US on this date.

Mercedes McCambridge, who provided the voice of the demon, insisted on swallowing raw eggs and chain smoking to alter her vocalizations. Furthermore, the actress who was an alcoholic, wanted to drink whiskey as she knew alcohol would distort her voice even more, and create the crazed state of mind of the character.

Hopefully you'll get to rest

Today in History:
December 26, 1776
American forces under Gen. George Washington, having crossed the Delaware River on Christmas night, defeated Hessian mercenary troops fighting for the British at the Battle of Trenton, N.J. on this date.

There are reports that the usually stoic future president made a request of the big-boned General Harry Knox: “shift that fat ass Harry, but slowly, or you’ll swamp the damned boat.”

December 26, 1865 -
I'm not a fan of coffee but why isn't this a bigger deal - James Mason (sometimes known as Nason) of Franklin, Massachusetts registered the first U.S. patent (US Patent No. 51,741) for a coffee percolator on this date.

Coffee had really taken off in America after the tea supply was cut off during the War of 1812. By the 1860s, it had become a highly demanded commodity, and only increased in popularity with the invention of the percolator.

On this day in 1913, the author of the short story, An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge and the satirical dictionary, The Devil's Dictionary, Ambrose Bierce disappeared into Mexico while traveling with the army of rebel Pancho Villa. In one of his final letters, the 71-year-old Bierce wrote to his niece, Lora,

Good-bye — if you hear of my being stood up against a Mexican stone wall and shot to rags please know that I think that a pretty good way to depart this life. It beats old age, disease, or falling down the cellar stairs. To be a Gringo in Mexico—ah, that is euthanasia!

December 26, 1919 -
Red Sox
owner and Broadway Producer, Harry Frazee believed he has solved one of his many headaches when he sold, an overweight, drunk, whoremongering baseball player to the New York Yankees on this date


December 26, 2004 -
A massive tsunami caused by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake, devastated Southeast Asia, killing more than 250,000 people in a single day and more than half a million lost their homes. This was most devastating tsunami in modern times

The earthquake has been titled the Sumatra-Andaman Islands Earthquake and is the highest magnitude earthquake in the region in over 40 years. The event had the fourth largest death toll from an earthquake in recorded history. Ten years after the quake and tsunami events, the entire region was still trying to recover and to rebuild. Some areas may never recover.

And so it goes


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